Siva Nageswara Rao: I hope that Dochevarevarura will be a trendsetter
Director Siva Nageswara Rao sounds positive about his comeback with his upcoming film Dochevarevarura
After a 12-year hiatus, director Siva Nageswara Rao is back to business with Dochevarevarura. Mention this to him and the Nandi award-winning director says, "The break was unplanned as my last film Over Action (2015), despite completing censor formalities, was put on hold due to various reasons. I am now hoping that Dochevarevarura will change things around," says the veteran director with his trademark laugh.
Siva Nageswara Rao is a name that pops up when you think of dark comedies blended with an underlying message. A majority of your films deal with stories that have characters caught up in the race to make more money. Is this how you wanted your films to be?
I always look at stories that are less explored in our cinema. I also ensured that my stories do not get repetitive. At the same time, I take immense pressure in telling intriguing stories and create characters that later emerge as trendsetters. For example, Brahmanandam as Khan Dada in the Money franchise and Babu Mohan as Babloo in One By Two (1993) left us in splits with their innocent yet serious faces. These characters have turned out to be the game changers for both of them. Also, the chartbuster hit 'Bhadram be careful brotheru' from Money has become an anthem song for bachelors. In fact, a lot of filmmakers tried to bank on the popularity of a trend and were carried away by the nostalgia factor, but couldn't reciprocate the success. With Dochevarevarura, I am trying to live up to my reputation as a dark comedies specialist and I am hoping that this film will become a trendsetter.
How did Dochevarevarura happen?
Producer Boddu Koteswara Rao saw my previous work and liked it. We travelled for three months and during this time, I discussed the concept of Dochevarevarura with him. He liked the story, characterisations and came forward to produce this film.
How did the core point of Dochevarevarura come up?
Films like Charlie Chaplin's The Kid (1921), The Godfather (1972), and Roberto Benigni influenced me to conceive this story which revolves around the five important elements like Dhanamu (money), Seelamu (chastity), Pranamu (life), Premamu (love) and Hasyamu (comedy). The film depicts three stories: a boy and a youngster, lovers in a relationship, and two identical twins. All these characters lose something that belongs to them and who steals them is the crux of our film. Although the film is high on entertainment, I believe it's an interesting story that needs to be told.
The film seems to have many firsts to its credit.
Yes. For the first time, Ajay Ghosh played twins in a double role: Kamal Bhushan and Vimal Bhushan, comedian Bithiri Sathi will be seen in a negative role as PK Satti, a professional killer, who is also called a freelancer with a silencer. The film introduces lyric writer Chaitanya Prasad's son Pranav Chandra as the protagonist and another debutante Malavika Pratyusha played his love interest. I have also roped in renowned RJ Pranavi Sadhanala in a prominent role along with child artist Chakri, who delivered an award-winning performance in the film.
That’s not all, I have also written a pan-global song ‘Lapati pakala soolle maala soolle baaku’ in an idiosyncratic language called Kaikiksena. It was composed by Rohith Vardhan and rendered by Manu and Sunaina Badam. The song was filmed on Ajay Ghosh, Pranavi and the response to the lyrical video was overwhelming.
What are your thoughts on the current scenario in the industry? Do you think OTTs sound death knell to theatres?
Cinema is permanent and its experience is unmatched. If you remember, when television was invented, many people thought it was the end of the road for cinemas. Later, a lot of private channels entered the market and the situation looked worse. But cinemas continued to prosper and receive love from across all age groups. Now we are facing a similar threat due to the rise of OTT platforms, which restricted the patronage to only 18-30 years. The onus is now on the filmmakers to impress these people and get ready for a smart makeover with strategic promotional campaigns. It’s essential to campaign to connect with each viewer on a personal level and heighten the anticipation without resorting to actual hype. I am trying to follow an innovative promotional strategy with Dochevarevarura. The idea is to keep driving as long as you last!
When I was writing Dochevarevarura, I felt the story had scope for a sequel. I have dropped a hint in one particular scene and I want the audience to do the guessing! I am also planning to direct another film for my producer (Boddu Koteswara Rao) soon and will announce the details shortly.